“Life doesn’t count for much unless you’re willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world. Even if it’s difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don’t get very far in our lifetime.” —BARACK OBAMA, speech, Jun. 15, 2008
He was a cute little boy. Being the youngest and smallest, he stood infront of the line of 42 boys and he looked at us with big curious eyes. There was a reddish bump on his forehead. Like the rest of the kids, his head was shaven. A big patch of dried wound at the back of his head was visible. My first heartbreak of the day. Moises was only two years old and it was easy to see that he suffered from abuse. They all looked so cute in their uniforms. We ushered the kids inside the room and settled them on the small chairs that were lined up at the center.
It was December when Mark posted something about raising milk for orphanages. I got hooked instantly. There’s always something about working for children that tugs at my heart and putting up an orphanage has always been in my bucketlist. So, a group in FB was formed, ideas were exchanged and we came up with a plan to raise 45 cans of milk for each orphanage beneficiary. We were originally planning on a monthly beneficiary but the logistics seemed a little bit impossible for sustaining it so we decided to do it every other month. After 2 months of planning, Manila Boys Town in Parang,Marikina became our final orphanage for the month of February, our very first milk feeding outreach.
On Saturday, February 18, 2012, Mark, Momi Eve, Shiela, Ceres, Papa Dads, my sister Irhys and I set out early for our very first BBP mission. I was ecstatic to be spending time with the kids that I hardly had any sleep the night before. Shiela’s plan of storytelling quickly vanished when we realized what we were faced with. 42 young boys ages 2 to 7. That was quite a number and with only 6 of us chasing them around, it was a bit of a challenge. It was very heart warming when the kids would hold my hand, tap me, touch my hair, whisper something and I could only wish that we could clone ourselves just so we can give each child the attention they were craving for.
Some of them stood apart from the group. Bong was around 5 years old. He had several dried bruises on his face, on his lip and his arms were spotted with more. He didn’t talk but he smiled. When I approached him, he wouldn’t look at me. He stared out the window silently. I played with a yoyo and handed it to him. He took it reluctantly. He smiled and that was enough. Another handsome kid, Christian (who looked like a young Bald runner), sat very quietly and very unresponsive. We tried to make him smile but he just sat there with a very disinterested demeanor. Nothing worked so I just gave him a tight hug.
Ramon Bautista (look-alike) was in the house too =). Like the older boys, Mel was in a better mood than the younger children. He answered questions properly and he wasn’t too rowdy.
Surprisingly, everybody wanted to dance the dougie. Ang gagaling nila mag dougie!
At nagkagulo na. Everyone wanted to play.
After the games and after the food was distributed, the kids started harassing Ceres for the toys. Too bad we didn’t have enough for everyone.
After the program, we got a quick tour at their house. My heart went out to these children when I saw their sleeping quarters. It was not much. The room’s blue paint was peeling off, bamboo beds were lined up on either side of the wall, no pillows, no cushions, 2 ceiling fans and a lone TV sat at one side of the room. Ganun pa man, nakangiti parin sila. Despite what little they had and what they’ve been through, they carried genuine smiles. I am very lucky to have been blessed with a big loving family, a comfortable home and a happy childhood. Most of us are so much blessed but we still complain. These kids have so little yet they are more grateful than we are. Look at your own life closely and tell me how can you complain? Realizing the plights of these children has taught me to be more grateful about the smallest things I have in life.
With our generous donors, we were able to collect as much as 31 cans of milk, food for the kids and some toys. We may not have reached our 45 cans goal but what we collected was already more than enough to help these kids with their milk supply. We would like to extend our most heartfelt gratitude to each and every single donor who have generously shared their blessings.
Thank you, Mark Manalo for initiating this project and giving us the opportunity to reach out. To the rest of the team, Great Job!
It has been truly a heart warming experience to do something for these kids. That day, I left the orphanage with mixed feelings. It was heartbreaking to see these kids, at their very young age, spotted with scars and bruises of an abusive home but it was also a blessing to see them smile. I wish I could hug them forever. Kung pwede lang sila iuwi. I pray for their future, I pray that they may grow up as wonderful adults and I pray that with the help of the people who continue to support and care for them their wounds would be healed.
BBP with the little boys of Manila Boys Town
Better Bones Project is now on the roll for collecting donations for our next milk feeding project this coming April.
We are hoping to gather more volunteers for our next outreach this coming April. If you wish to join us in chasing, dancing, singing and spending a few hours with the kids please feel free to leave a message and we’ll get in touch. I wish I can share more photos with you but we have to respect the children’s rights to privacy.
For more information please visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Better-Bones-Project-/356374527713388
you can deposit cash to this account:
0280991185/Mark Leonard Manalo/BDO
For milk donations:
Please feel free to leave a message and we can schedule pick-up.